1 RU Of Raw SDLC Power!

I’ve been meaning to set up a TFS install at home for some time. Up to now, I’ve been running TFS Beta 3 Refresh in a Virtual Machine, but it was on a borrowed box and came with the bits pre-installed. Other issues were that it was configured as a domain controller and although it played nicely with my network, it couldn’t be a member of my home domain without some serious reconfiguration. Finally, I wanted to go through the install process again to see how much better it had got since Beta 3 (hint: the answer is “a lot!”)

I had a look at the recommended system configurations for TFS and decided that, as it’s mainly going to be only me accessing this box I probably fall into the “Small Team”category. I wanted a box that’d fit in my rack (and not take up too much space so that I didn’t have to move my stereo out of there). Dell have a couple of great 1 RU servers so I convinced the CFO that we really needed to invest in a PoweEdge 850. I went for a PentiumD chip but pretty much min specs on all the rest (it’s probably going to be easier to add HDD and RAM than do a processor upgrade later).

I run Small Business Server at home (my wife finds it easiest to schedule time with me if our calendars can talk, so Exchange is sensational). Adding another server to the domain is fine. In fact, Mark Stanfil has just blogged about Two New White Papers for SBS – Multiple Servers on The Official SBS Support Blog.

Installing the box was painless. The Dell units are really nicely engineered, no mucking around with cage nuts etc in the rack. In addition, even I can manhandle a 1 RU server without too much trouble. The engineering really shows in the little things. Opening up the box shows that even though I only got 1 SATA drive pre-installed, the cage for another was there, with all of the cabling (power and SATA) terminating just behind that. The only small complaint I have is that the folks who assembled the box had their torque setting too high on the screwdriver, so the “toolless thumbscrews” weren’t.

On to the install process. Win2k3 Standard with SP1 is simple, Next, Next, Next … Grabbed all of the critical updates.

Now for the TFS itself. There’s a great step-by-step guide and the install process has become almost completely painless. I’d love to see this completely wizard-driven – at the moment it’s a series of manual steps, but the instructions are very comprehensive.

Once I had done all of the install steps (about 4 hours total I think), including the Team Explorer client on the TFS box, I created a team project. Hey, it just worked!

I installed the new Team Explorer client on my dev box and connected to the server. Again, it just worked!

I did the survey and sent in my install logs, but there’s probably not much to gain from them – “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

Next steps for me:

  • Work out a reasonable backup regime
  • Hang out for the new MSSCCI provider release so I can use TFS for my VFP projects too
  • Get a fixed IP address and configure the system so I can access the server from external sites. The offline experience is still not sensational
  • Drop Dave a note to compare experiences with his DevGarten setup
Comments (6)

  1. Mark Cohen says:


    I use dynamic DNS and it works a treat.  check out http://www.dyndns.org.  My belkin router supports dynamic dns, if your router doesn’t have built-in support there are freebie apps you can download that run as a winwods service.

    We’re actually weighing up whether to move to TFS now, I’m waiting to see what happens to you ;o)


  2. kazza says:

    heck even I can manhandle the Dell 1RU boxes :)

  3. acoat says:

    Kazza – I’ve heard you can personhandle the 4RU UPSs <g>

  4. acoat says:

    Hi Mark,

    Yeah – I use Dynamic DNS too, especially for Outlook Web Access to the exchange server and RDP into the boxen, but my ISP blocks port 80 outgoing, so I think I’m in for a bit of a config nightmare. My plan is to get a second (probably ADSL2) connection with a fixed IP address and no restrictions on the ports. I’ll use ISA2004 and do some tricky translation like Dave’s done with the DevGarten stuff.

    The TFS stuff is great.

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